President Klaus Iohannis signed on Monday a decree removing Laura Codruta Kovesi as chief prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA).
“In enforcing Ruling 358/2018 of the Constitutional Court (CCR), the President of Romania, Mr Klaus Iohannis, today signed a decree removing Mrs Laura Codruta Kovesi from the office of chief prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate,” presidential spokesperson Madalina Dobrovolschi told a news conference on Monday.
She added that under CCR’s ruling, “the President of Romania is to issue a decree removing from office chief prosecutor of DNA Laura Codruta Kovesi.”
President Iohannis has consistently stated that he respects the Constitution and the laws of the country and has always acted accordingly, Dobrovolschi said.
According to the spokesperson, Iohannis underscores that the fight against corruption must under no circumstances be abandoned or slowed down.
“Corruption affects the lives of every citizen and the development of Romania. Public money cannot be used for personal or group gains, while the misappropriation of public resources and stymieing the anti-corruption fight means the absence of hospitals, schools, highways, efficient public administration. Romania’s President, Mr Klaus Iohannis, warns that regardless of the name of the chief prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, this body will have to continue its work professionally at the highest level of performance,” said Dobrovolschi.
She pointed out that President Klaus Iohannis considers that Romania cannot take steps back from the country’s status where law rules and where the supremacy of the Constitution is respected.
“In Romania, the fight against corruption must not be diminished or blocked in any way; on the contrary, it must continue. None of the institutions involved in the fight against corruption should be subject to pressure or attempts to discredit them. President Klaus Iohannis underlines that Romania is and must be a country where the rule of law prevails. The rule of law as well as genuine democracy is manifested on a daily basis by the decisions and the choices of each citizen to respect above all the Constitution and the laws of this country. Any slippage away from this principle would in fact mean a blow to and a diminution of the rule of law,” Dobrovolschi said.
She also quoted Iohannis as pointing out that the decisions of the CCR should be respected not only by the president, but also by the majority of politicians.
“In a country governed by the rule of law, the rulings of the CCR must all be respected, that is why constitutional judges have the huge responsibility to ensure that the Constitution’s supremacy does not depart from its spirit, which is based on the historical traditions of the Romanian people and on the ideals of the December 1989 Revolution, but the decisions of the CCR must be respected and enforced not only by the President but also by the political majority, a majority that decides on legislative changes with a major impact on the rule of law,” Dobrovolschi said.
Decree removing DNA head, published in Official Journal
President Klaus Iohannis’ decree on removing Laura Codruta Kovesi from the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) chief prosecutor office was published in the Official Journal on Monday.
“In enforcing Ruling 358/2018 of the Constitutional Court (CCR) on the request for solving the judicial conflict of constitutional nature between the Justice Ministry, on the one hand, and Romania’s President, on the other, (…) the President of Romania decrees: Mrs Laura Codruta Kovesi is removed from the office of chief prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate,” the decree reads.
Anca Jurma, delegated chief prosecutor of DNA
Prosecutor general Augustin Lazar on Monday issued the order through which Anca Jurma has been delegated as chief prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA).
“Following the decree by which the President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Werner Iohannis, ordered the revocation of Mrs. Laura Codruta Kovesi as Chief Prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate and its publication in the Official Gazette of Romania, the Prosecutor General of the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice, Mr. Augustin Lazar, has issued today the order for delegating to this position Ms Anca Jurma, prosecutor in the National Anticorruption Directorate.
Ms. Anca Jurma served for a two-year term as Chief Prosecutor of the International Cooperation Service and Programs within the National Anticorruption Directorate, and was subsequently appointed advisor to the chief prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate,” reads a release from the General Prosecutor’s Office.
According to the quoted source, Augustin Lazar conveys “a message of confidence for the resolute pursuit of the anticorruption activity”.
“The General Prosecutor of the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice, Mr. Augustin Lazar, conveys a message of confidence for the resolute pursuit of the anticorruption activity, which is a priority of the Public Ministry in fulfilling its constitutional role. In the judiciary activity, the Public Ministry represents the general interests of society and defends the rule of law and the rights and freedoms of citizens,” reads the quoted source.
Dismissed DNA chief prosecutor Kovesi: Removal proposal didn’t meet requirements provided by law
Laura Codruta Kovesi on Monday, after President Klaus Iohannis signed the decree removing her from the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) chief prosecutor office, said that she would no longer work in this institution, but will remain a prosecutor.
“Starting today, I will no longer work in the DNA, I will remain a prosecutor,” Kovesi told a press conference.
She said that the Justice Minister’s proposal to remove her from the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) chief prosecutor office didn’t meet the requirements provided by law.
“May I remind you that the removal proposal didn’t meet the requirements provided by law. The Superior Council of Magistrates (CSM) issued a negative opinion. I have proved to the CSM Prosecutors’ Section that the arguments invoked by the Justice Minister in the proposal, part of them lack reality, part of them are ungrounded,” Kovesi said.
“Political will at this moment is not for an independent justice”
Laura Codruta Kovesi said on Monday after President Klaus Iohannis signed a decree removing her from the office of chief prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) that at this point in time the political will is not for an independent justice, but for stymieing investigations.
“It is common sense to note that the political will at this moment is not for an independent, efficient justice, but for stymieing investigations and justice,” Kovesi said at a news conference.
She also mentioned the legislation guaranteeing the independence of prosecutors.
“We, the prosecutors, cannot fight a political fight, because the law forbids us to, but our plea is for stable legislation, our plea is for a legislation where prosecutors are independent. Prosecutors’ independence is an incorruptible value,” said Kovesi.
She also stated that the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), which she led for five years, managed to prove that Romania’s institutions are efficient.
“We managed to prove that Romania’s public institutions are efficient, the work done is legal, but, above all, yes, corruption can be defeated,” Kovesi stated at the DNA headquarters.
Kovesi, message to citizens and society: Don’t give up!
Laura Codruta Kovesi on Monday, after her removal from the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) chief prosecutor office, sent also a message to “the citizens and the society,” in which she stressed that corruption can be defeated.
“Corruption can be defeated. Don’t give up!,” Kovesi said in a statement at the DNA headquarters.
“Brutal way in which change is forced in criminal laws shows change makers want protection”
Outgoing chief anti-graft prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi said on Monday that the “brutal way” in which changes are forced in Romania’s criminal laws shows that at present the political will is not for an efficient Justice but for stymieing investigations.
“Today’s episode is not a defeat. The brutal way in which changes are forced in criminal laws shows they [the change makers] want protection for their past, their present and their future. After six years at the helm of the Attorney General’s Office and five years, one month and 24 days in the position of National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) chief prosecutor I am telling you: nothing can be balanced against the continuation of this fight, because this fight is one way of defending society against dangerous criminals. The judiciary is going through a difficult time. We all know that because we have seen what is left of the criminal legislation. We have all seen the form of the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure adopted in Parliament, we have made observations ourselves and so did the Supreme High Court of Justice and the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM), and, most importantly, so has the Attorney General’s Office. It is sensible to note that the political will in this moment is not for an effective justice, it is for stymieing investigations and justice,” Kovesi told a news conference.
Political reactions after the dismissal of the DNA Chief
ALDE MEP Norica Nicolai stated on Monday, after the announcement concerning the dismissal of Codruta Kovesi from the helm of the DNA, that “sentimentally, the President never would have wanted to take this decision,” but that “the one acting was not Mr Klaus Iohannis but the President, who has proven that he observes the rule of law.”
“It’s a normal decision. Political partisanship and electoral interests aside, the President has proven that he knows to observe the rule of law, which starts with the observance of the Constitution and of the decisions of the Constitutional Court. I suspect that, sentimentally, the President never would have wanted to take this decision, given the relations with the DNA and with Ms Kovesi in particular, but the one acting was not Mr Klaus Iohannis but the President. I believe this prompted him not to personally announce this decision but to do it via his spokesperson,” MEP Norica Nicolai, Chairwoman of ALDE’s National Council, stated for MEDIAFAX.
Iordache: The President took a bit long to prove he is the guarantor of the observance of the Constitution
House lawmaker Florin Iordache (PSD), chairman of the special committee on the amending of judicial laws, stated for News.ro that the President’s decision to dismiss the Chief Prosecutor of the DNA is a normal decision and added that, nevertheless, the President took a bit long to read the Constitutional Court’s substantiation but proved that he is the guarantor of the observance of the Constitution.
“A normal decision. The President has understood that CCR decisions must be observed. He took a bit long to fully read the decision and, with this decision, he has proven he is the guarantor of the observance of the Constitution. (…) For us, as a signal, (…) the fact that the President observes CCR decisions is a sign of normality. There are CCR decisions we like, others that we don’t like but, just like the Venice Commission has said, CCR decisions must be observed by everyone, in full,” Florin Iordache stated for News.ro.
Nicolicea: Decision to dismiss Kovesi comes 30 days late. It had extraordinary significance, because he could have infringed upon the Constitution in the future too, by not signing other decrees that had a far greater importance
“[The decision] comes with a 30-day delay. (…) This decision to practically sign a decree… We do not comment the fact that the decree was a dismissal decree. It had extraordinary significance, because he could have infringed upon the Constitution in the future too, by not signing other decrees that, I believe, had a far greater importance. Not signing a decree to appoint ministers, the Government, so on and so forth,” Eugen Nicolicea stated for News.ro.
Codrin Stefanescu: If the decision to dismiss the DNA Chief has been taken as late as today, it’s not Iohannis’s decision, it’s the establishment’s decision. They preferred to sacrifice a man on the chessboard and are set to take their revenge on the coalition
This decision should have been taken 31 days ago and then the Constitution would have been observed. If it’s been taken as late as today (Monday – editor’s note), it’s not Iohannis’s decision, it’s the decision of the establishment, of those who give instructions to Mr Iohannis, and these people, after calculations, just like we too conducted in the coalition regarding the impeachment, they too have calculated what the impeachment means and what could happen to them afterward. They preferred to sacrifice one of their people on the chessboard and are set to take their revenge on the coalition. I don’t know what this revenge consists of. It may be the DIICOT dossier opened against the Government, it may be the Criminal Code. At any rate, this loss of theirs is not made only to observe the Constitution but it’s made out of need, in a moment when the stars are not favourable for them,” Codrin Stefanescu stated for News.ro.
He criticised the fact that President Klaus Iohannis did not come out in person to make the announcement but sent his spokesperson instead and thus “washed his hands.”
“Moreover, this is easily visible, because Iohannis did not even come in person at the press conference but sent Ms Puscalau (Madalina Dobrovolschi – editor’s note). He was accustomed to having very good instructions, for him to go out at Cotroceni and to swear at Dragnea, at Tariceanu, at PSD, ALDE, the coalition and the Government. This time, when it’s about the dismissal, he sends the spokesperson and washes his hands, according to other instructions he must observe,” he added.
Turcan: Is PSD enforcing the High Court’s decisions on the incompatibility of some of their MPs? The Romanian President has observed the Constitution. PSD continues to defy it
PNL First Vice President Raluca Turcan stated on Monday that President Klaus Iohannis has observed the Constitution, but wondered whether the PSD is enforcing the High Court’s decisions regarding the incompatibility of some of their parliamentarians. She demanded the resignation of PSD leader Liviu Dragnea, the rejection of the amendments to the Criminal Codes, and the creation of a new parliamentary majority.
“Is PSD enforcing the High Court’s decisions on the incompatibility of some of their parliamentarians? The Romanian President has observed the Constitution. The PSD continues to defy it. The ball is now in Dragnea’s court 100 percent,” Raluca Turcan wrote on her Facebook page.
Turcan says that it is mandatory for Liviu Dragnea to resign, the amendments to the Criminal Codes to be rejected, and a new parliamentary majority to be formed.
“Mandatory requirements: Resignation! The rejection of the Codes! A new parliamentary majority that would observe the Constitution. Even if a single article from the Criminal Code is unconstitutional, it should lead to the removal of Liviu Dragnea from the political stage. This country, the European future of Romanians, is not dependent on Liviu Dragnea, twice-convicted, who will leave the third-highest office in the Romanian state to go directly to prison,” she wrote.
Serban Nicolae, PSD: Iohannis was embarrassed to make the announcement of Kovesi’s dismissal
PSD Senator Serban Nicolae stated on Monday that, in his opinion, President Klaus Iohannis was embarrassed to make the announcement of the dismissal from office of the DNA Chief Prosecutor, due to the Head of State’s jabs against the ruling coalition, thus delegating the Presidency’s spokesperson to do so.
“In my opinion, Mr Iohannis is left with reasonings that are impenetrable from the standpoint of logic; I believe that, after the things he said about the PSD, he found it far too difficult to make this announcement waited for 30 days. I don’t realise why he preferred to send the spokeswoman, whom we hadn’t seen in a long time, but I believe he was embarrassed to make this announcement following his attacks,” Serban Nicolae said in a phone interview with Antena3 on Monday.
He added that the image at the DNA – where Laura Codruta Kovesi took part in a press conference while several of her DNA colleagues stood behind her, shortly after the President’s announcement of his decision to dismiss her from office – was hallucinating in his opinion.
“I found it absolutely hallucinating to see a person who clings to the stairs and believes that the institution will collapse without her. I find it absolutely embarrassing. Do you realise what system of terror, of absolute dependence, of slavery… to be carried around like a herd, to serve the terrible news of the sacrifice of the DNA Chief,” Serban Nicolae added.
PSD Vaslui leader Dumitru Buzatu considers that impeaching President Klaus Iohannis is now out of the question after he dismissed DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, and that the Head of State wanted to demonstrate that “he does what he wants and when he wants.”
Orban on Iohannis’s decision to dismiss DNA head: If he hadn’t enforced CCR decision, Romania could have been exposed to the risk of events that would have created social unrest
PNL leader Ludovic Orban said on Monday that President Klaus Iohannis’s decision to sign the decree dismissing from office the Chief Prosecutor of the DNA was an analysed action, pointing out that Iohannis chose Romania’s interest over his personal interest. Orban added that a refusal to dismiss Kovesi would have generated events that would have “created social unrest.”
“PNL has taken note of President Klaus Iohannis’s decision to enforce the CCR’s decision. We are convinced that behind this decision the President analysed the situation and had strong reasons to take this decision. In our opinion, the President has chosen between his personal interest and Romania’s interest, he has chosen Romania’s interest because, had the CCR’s decision not been enforced, Romania could have been exposed to the risk of events that would have created social unrest, that would have split society,” Ludovic Orban said.
Orban also claimed that the President was, is and will be a fighter against corruption, and PNL will continue to fight against “the Dragnea clan.”
“Klaus Iohannis was, is and will be a supporter of the fight against corruption, of the independence of the judiciary, of democracy, of Romania’s Euroatlantic trajectory and of support for the fundamental rights and freedoms of fair, honest Romanians who observe the law. (…) PNL will continue the fight against the Dragnea clan, against the current governmental majority that wants to bury Romania. (…) PNL will fight to firmly maintain Romania in the family of developed nations, will firmly militate for the upholding of our commitments as an EU and NATO state and for the implementation of the Strategic Partnership with the U.S.,” the PNL leader added.
USR House lawmaker after announcement on dismissal of DNA head: Emil Constantinescu has a follower
House lawmaker Cristian Sleider (USR) stated, after the announcement regarding the dismissal of the DNA Chief Prosecutor, announcement that President Klaus Iohannis made through his spokesperson, that “Emil Constantinescu has a follower.”
“6.3 million votes on your name. 1.8 million Facebook likes on your name. Decision of major importance for the anticorruption fight. You dispatch the spokesperson!? Emil Constantinescu has a follower,” the USR lawmaker wrote on his Facebook page.
He asked internet users who they would want as the next President of Romania.
Alina Gorghiu: Observance of CCR Decision imposed by constitutional rules
Senator Alina Gorghiu, the former leader of PNL, says that President Klaus Iohannis’s decision to sign the decree dismissing from office Laura Codruta Kovesi was taken after a very careful analysis and the observance of the Constitutional Court’s decision was a must.
In a Facebook posting, Alina Gorghiu, the representative of Timis County in the Senate, says that President Klaus Iohannis’s decision to sign the decree was taken after a very careful analysis.
“The President took a decision after he carefully weighed all nuances included in the CCR Decision. It certainly relies on a very careful analysis of all the juridical aspects. It is certainly not a decision taken in the heat of the moment, such a reaction would not have been opportune. And it is certainly not a political decision, that is not how things work at such a level of responsibility. We know the integrity of President Iohannis and we know that for him no political calculus takes precedence before the rules of the state’s functioning. It has been seen that only the President has now shown that he is the absolutely necessary factor of balance and stability in an extremely agitated and unpredictable Romanian political environment. That is why none of the things that politicians from political parties have said in recent weeks mattered. We know what the personal goals of each of them were,” Gorghiu wrote.
The Senator also says that the observance of the CCR decision was imposed by constitutional rules.
“Observing the CCR Decision by issuing today’s Decree was imposed by the rules included in the Constitution. It would be the biggest political error for the Opposition to start attacks or for there to be voices expressing disappointment over this decision. Let’s not forget, the levers were amputated one by one. Then a certain majority was formed within the CCR,” the Senator added.
Gorghiu also believes that the political line imposed by the Head of State, namely “zero tolerance for corruption,” will not change.
“The political line imposed and guaranteed at the level of the state’s leadership by President Iohannis, that of zero tolerance for corruption, will not change a millimetre, because it is backed by all Romanian people. The anticorruption fight must continue, and the activity of judicial system institutions and of magistrates must remain independent from any kind of interference. I trust the DNA and I believe it will continue to function in a professional manner, that it will show maturity and the fact that it does not depend on a single person,” Alina Gorghiu added.
The Senator adds that PNL’s jurists will “continue the parliamentary fight to make sure that the Venice Commission’s opinion on the Codes and the judicial laws will be waited.”
“We, the jurists from PNL, will continue the parliamentary fight to make sure the Venice Commission’s opinion on the Codes and the judicial laws will be waited. I’ve said it before, I have all conviction that the modifications made by the PSD-ALDE majority will not come into force in the form that the ruling power wants, because corruption cannot be legalised in a European country. I take this opportunity to remind the CCR to solve all problems concerning the mandate of judge Lazaroiu,” Gorghiu concluded.
Basescu:Iohannis chose correctly in Kovesi’s case; must see if CCR’s decision of reducing MPs will apply
Senator Traian Basescu says that president Iohannis chose correctly when he applied the Romanian Constitutional Court’s (CCR) decision in the case of Laura Codruta Kovesi, stating that it remains to be seen whether or not the CCR’s decision validating the referendum for reducing the size of the Parliament to 300 MPs will be respected.
“President Iohannis chose correctly, applying the CCR’s decision and revoking Laura Codruta Kovesi. It remains to be seen if those who imperatively asked president Iohannis to respect the CCR’s decision are also willing to apply the Court’s decision, through which the referendum that reduced the number of MPs to 300. Come on, boys, a little courage. 300”, wrote former president Traian Basescu, Monday, on Facebook, referring to the fact that in 2009 there was a referendum launched so that Parliament can become unicameral and have 300 MPs.
He says that Romania does not currently have more than 300 politicians that can competently exercise the position of MP.
PSD’s Buzatu: President Iohannis must find a way to also speed up the coming into force of the Criminal Codes
Dumitru Buzatu stated for MEDIAFAX on Monday that President Iohannis must find a way to also speed-up the coming into force of the Criminal Codes, after he signed the decision to dismiss the DNA Chief Prosecutor.
“President Iohannis has played a game that has cost the country’s citizens very many nerves, trying to demonstrate something that cannot be demonstrated, that he does what he wants and when he wants. Impeaching the President over the dismissal of Ms Kovesi is out of the questions. I believe President Iohannis must now think very well if he could somehow find a way to also speed-up the coming into force of the Criminal Codes because, in line with the old definition of abuse of office, Mr Iohannis would be somewhat culpable, because we are talking about dallying, against the backdrop in which the CCR decision had to be enforced immediately. We could consider he has deficiently carried out his prerogatives and would expose himself to such an issue. I don’t believe it would be good for this to happen,” Buzatu said.
He believes President Klaus Iohannis did not get scared of impeachment but only played a very calculated game so that he would not reach some limits from which there would be no turning back.
The leader of PSD Vaslui considers that, in her new capacity as citizen, Laura Codruta Kovesi should go before the parliamentary committee, something that she previously refused.
PSD Alba leader: Klaus Iohannis understood he was at risk of being impeached
PSD Alba leader and House lawmaker Ioan Dirzu stated on Monday that, by dismissing DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, President Klaus Iohannis has recognised the judiciary’s abuses, pointing out that the Head of State understood he was at risk of being impeached, the MEDIAFAX correspondent informs.
On Monday, the leader of PSD Alba pointed out in a press release that the Romanian President has recognised the abuses of the judiciary by dismissing the DNA Chief Prosecutor.
“Klaus Iohannis has recognised the abuses of Ms Laura Codruta Kovesi and of some DNA prosecutors by accepting CCR decision no.358/2018 and by dismissing Ms Kovesi from the office of Chief Prosecutor. Mr Iohannis thus recognises also the Justice Minister’s assessment report on the DNA’s activity, as well as the multiple complaints regarding the disciplinary offences handled by the Judicial Inspection,” the communique reads.
According to Dirzu, the dismissal of Laura Codruta Kovesi was a normal gesture of observing the general and mandatory character of any decision taken by the Constitutional Court.
“The Romanian President understood he is in the objective situation of being impeached for not nominating a candidate for the office of SIE Director and for intentionally not observing a CCR decision, and he mended his conduct,” PSD’s House lawmakers says.
At the same time, Ioan Dirzu says that the DNA should not mean one person, pointing out that very many persons and institutions have suffered because “of the protection that the DNA ensures for PDL members now masked as National Liberals.”
“The DNA, just like any Romanian institution, should not mean one person, even less so a person proven to have, throughout her career, a soft spot for PDL, the current PNL, and who saw fit to exercise her prerogatives through an exclusively political hunt against PDL’s and Traian Basescu’s political opponents. Very many persons and institutions have suffered because of the protection that the DNA ensures for PDL members now masked as National Liberals. Romania cannot continue with an arbitrary, politicised, abusive and in part lazy anticorruption fight. We need truly independent prosecutors, without political bias and who would not turn prosecutor’s offices into their own fiefdoms,” reads the communique.